2016 Reading Challenge

It’s that time of year again! How well did y’all do with your reading?

I mean, didn’t complete any of the four challenges I had (that’s right: FOUR), but I did stretch my reading boundaries a bit and tried new genres. I also gave up on a book!

Now, that may sound bad, but I usually never “DNF” a book, even it’s boring or eye-rolling or whatever. But I hit a serious reading block this year (the library enjoys my late fees, I’m sure), and I realized that it was because I really didn’t care about the book I was reading. And that’s . . . kinda sad, right? If I’m not feeling engaged, if I’m not going to get anything out of reading besides “yay I read a thing,” then it’s a little pointless. It’s one thing if it’s a challenging read, something out of the comfort zone, but this was just a book (not gonna name names) that I honestly didn’t care about in terms of the plot or characters, not even curious, and more often than I perhaps care to admit, curiosity is the only thing that keeps me reading. But it wasn’t strong enough this time, and frankly, I have too many books I want to read in life without wasting time on one I don’t. Perhaps some of you feel the same?

Anyway, I digress. To the challenges!

I’m only going to post the ones I actually completed, taken from POPSUGAR, BOOK RIOT, and GOODREADS). There was a bit of overlap between all of these, as I’ll mention.

For those interested, the GOODREADS group is doing another challenge for 2017, located here, and here are POPSUGAR’s and BOOK RIOT’s.

Let’s go!

POPSUGAR 2016 READING CHALLENGE

#3. A YA bestseller

Fangirl

FANGIRL

Well, I mean, this was kind of a given, as I mostly read YA. Review here!

#4. A book you haven’t read since high school

448873

THE THIEF

I was actually guessing a little bit about the proper date for this, but I’m pretty sure it was high school when I last read this, give or take a few years.

#7. A romance set in the future

Calamity (Reckoners, #3)

CALAMITY

I’m not 100% sure about this one, since it’s technically an AU kind of thing, but there IS a romance! 8D Review here!

#8. A book set in Europe

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

Schwab writes good books, you guys. And look at that cover! Review here!

9. A book that’s under 150 pages

Rey's Survival Guide

REY’S SURVIVAL GUIDE

This book was adorable and goes a little in Rey’s backstory and how she survived on Jakku (by being smart and tactical, for one thing).

10. A New York Times bestseller

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

WHAT IF?

If you like xkcd, you’ll really like this book. And if you’ve never heard of xkcd, you’ll still like this book because SCIENCE.

11. A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A Monster Calls

A MONSTER CALLS

I mean, it took all year, but it did happen. Review here!

14. A book you can finish in a day

A MONSTER CALLS

I don’t usually like using the same book for more than one challenge, but it’s apparently a thing? that lots of people do? So. And also, I finished quite a few books in one day, this was just the first.

15. A book written by a celebrity

A Passage to Shambhala (The Explorers Guild, #1)

THE EXPLORER’S GUILD

Kevin Costner, you guys. From the movies. Review here!

18. A book that’s more than 600 pages

THE EXPLORER’S GUILD

It was a big boy.

20. A science-fiction novel

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

ILLUMINAE

Sci-fi can be such a vague term, but that’s the official Goodreads genre. Review here!

21. A book recommended by a family member

Steelheart (Reckoners, #1)

STEELHEART

Thank you for the rec, dear sister of mine~ Review here!

22. A graphic novel

Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life

SCOTT PILGRIM

And the movie was good too! Review here!

23. A book that is published in 2016

Passenger (Passenger, #1)

PASSENGER

I actually read quite a few books published in 2016; my library was really on top of it. Review here!

27. A murder mystery

Dumb Witness (Hercule Poirot, #16)

DUMB WITNESS

It was the dog in the greenhouse with the ball!

28. A book written by a comedian

Modern Romance

MODERN ROMANCE

TV goals for 2017 include watching Aziz’s Master of None.

29. A dystopian novel

Firefight (Reckoners, #2)

FIREFIGHT

Just one of many. Review here!

30. A book with a blue cover

Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History

BACK TO THE FUTURE: A VISUAL HISTORY

Blue is the future!

34. A book from the library

PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THEM

I laughed when I first saw this one, because the library is my primary source for books.

39. A book that takes place on an island

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)

A GATHERING OF SHADOWS

Because the United Kingdom, y’all, even one in an alternate dimension. Review here!

40. A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

CROOKED KINGDOM

And it DID. Review here!

BOOK RIOT’S READ HARDER CHALLENGE 2016

1. Read a horror book.

Through the Woods

THROUGH THE WOODS

Horror graphic novels are sometimes even scarier because pictures. Review here!

2. Read a nonfiction book about science.

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War

GRUNT

Military science in this case! Did you know that a person who has slept for six hours a day for two weeks has roughly the same mental capacity as someone who’s been awake for 48 hours?

5. Read a middle grade novel.

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1)

THE SWORD OF SUMMER

Rick Riordan is on a roll, and I’m lovin’ it. Review here!

7. Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel.

Bits & Pieces (Rot & Ruin, #5)

BITS & PIECES

Strictly speaking, this is a collection of short stories, BUT in the same world as the novels. So. It counts. Review here!

8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born.

THE THIEF

I’m kinda old, you guys.

10. Read a book over 500 pages long.

THE EXPLORERS GUILD

Like I said, BIG.

11. Read a book under 100 pages.

REY’S SURVIVAL GUIDE

Also read in a single day~

15. Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900.

The Conjurer's Riddle (The Inventor's Secret #2)

A CONJURER’S RIDDLE

I like how specific this challenge had to get, XD. Review here!

16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color.

SCOTT PILGRIM

Graphic novels count!

17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years.

Invader Zim #1

INVADER ZIM

I’m also reading the excellent Back to the Future IDW series!

18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better.

SCOTT PILGRIM

The safe answer is that they are both good in their own way. The correct answer is the book. Obviously.

21. Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction).

The Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, #2)

THE QUEEN OF ATTOLIA

And amazingly, the politics were part of what made this book so thrilling. Review here!

24. Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE

I read a couple books with this theme, but I liked this one the best~ Review here!

GOODREADS GROUP CHALLENGE 2016

Read a book that takes place on each continent, or is written by an author from that continent (fiction or non-fiction)

1. North America

BITS & PIECES

It’s a dystopia, but yes, specifically in the United States

5. Europe

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

Gotta love jolly ol’ England!

9. An award winning book (Pulitzer, Hugo, Man Booker, etc.)

A MONSTER CALLS

And for GOOD REASON.

12. A book with LGBT matter or character(s)

The Accident Season

THE ACCIDENT SEASON

Characters, to be specific. Review here!

15. A Young Adult book

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes, #1)

AN EMBER IN ASHES

To be fair, I mostly read YA, but this was the first of the year. Review here!

16. A history book (fiction or nonfiction)

The Muralist

THE MURALIST

Art history, to be precise. Review here!

18. A book from the NYT Bestseller list

WHAT IF?

It sold real well, you guys.

23. A debut novel

AN EMBER IN ASHES

And though it didn’t work for me personally, to call it a success would be an understatement, and good for the author!

24. Published this year (2016)

PASSENGER

I, for one, welcome all 2016 published books.

25. Based entirely on the cover

More Than This

MORE THAN THIS

Slight caveat, here, it wasn’t so much the cover as whose NAME was on it. (I love me some Patrick Ness.) Review here!

26. Own but never read

Welcome to Night Vale

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE

Another one of those vague ones, but I’m guessing it means that I owned and never read it BEFORE this challenge. Review here!

27. A book by an author you never read before

AN EMBER IN ASHES

Again, just the first of many new-to-me authors of the year!

30. Mythology (not just Greek)

THE SWORD OF SUMMER

Norse! BOO-YAH!

32. Dystopia

BITS & PIECES

I love dystopias, you guys.

34. A book about books

Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2)

PAPER AND FIRE

Not just any books, but the lost books of the library in Alexandria! Review here!

35. Book published the year you graduated high school

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE UNIVERSE

This is the fifth one of the series~

38. A book with two authors

THE EXPLORERS GUILD

A celebrity and another guy!

39. Author from your own state, province, or country

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

QUEEN OF SHADOWS

I mean, I could’ve picked almost any author. The United States is big and full of writers. Review here!

41. A book with the name of a person in the title

STEELHEART

That’s not a name, you say? You haven’t read this book, I say!

42. Science Fiction

ILLUMINAE

I plan on reading the sequel this year~

43. Fantasy

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

I plan on reading the sequel to this too! (The third one, actually.)

Overall, these challenges were a modest success. What I tried to do was simply read the books I planned to read and see if they would fit in the categories, and then fill in the rest later. This year, I’m going to modify that a bit. There are definitely MUST READS in my TBR list, but said list is also incredibly long and bound to satisfy the new challenges. So I’m going to fill it out ahead of time — i.e. find books that fit the categories — and then that’s my reading list for the year. In this way, I will be not only reading books I want to read anyway, but they will be widely varied thanks to the challenges, and thus I will hopefully not hit a bad reading slump again! (Is this how these things are supposed to be done anyway? Probs. XP)

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